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Gio Ponti Confirmed for Arlington Million

Gio Ponti Confirmed for Arlington Million

Castleton Lyons’ Gio Ponti, defending champion in the Grade I Arlington Million, will try to become the first horse in history to win back-to-back renewals of the showcase event of the Chicago Thoroughbred racing season to be contested Aug. 21.

 

In an e-mail sent to Arlington’s racing office, trainer Christophe Clement’s assistant Christophe Lorieul advised, “Gio Ponti will be coming for the Arlington Million as of now.”

 

Gio Ponti’s connections had been considering both the upcoming Million and the Grade I Pacific Classic at Del Mar Aug. 28 prior to indicating a preference in the e-mail sent Wednesday afternoon to Arlington from Clement’s office.

 

“(Gio Ponti) worked yesterday ( Aug. 4 going five furlongs in 1:03.40 over a Saratoga turf course rated firm) and I was very happy with the way he went,” trainer Christophe Clement said Thursday morning while speaking at Saratoga.  “He will have a more aggressive work next week and then we will head to the Arlington Million.”

 

Officially, no horse in the Million’s 28-year-history has been credited with back-to-back wins in the internationally-coveted grass test over Arlington’s world famous turf course. 

 

Mrs. John Magnier’s Powerscourt was first under the wire in the 2004 Million before being disqualified and placed fourth for interference in the stretch.  However, in the 2005 Million, that same British-bred trained by Aidan O’Brien proved best by three lengths and that result was allowed to stand.

 

Dotsam Stable’s John Henry is the only horse to date to be credited with two Arlington Million wins, but they were not in successive seasons.  Conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally, John Henry captured the inaugural Million in 1981 and returned to the winner’s circle as a 9-year-old after the 1984 edition.

 

 

 

 

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